Nowadays, there seems to be a game show or a reality TV show about everything you could think of! Well, escape rooms are no exception. In 2015, there was a show that came out called Race to Escape, there were 7 episodes to the season, each one a new themed escape room. A team of complete strangers are put into the escape rooms, there are 2 teams playing the same escape room, and there’s money involved!

Now, as someone who is fairly new to escape rooms and the industry, everything seems to fascinate me about them! Whether it’s the development of themes and puzzles for the different rooms, or if it’s the way people think and work their way through the games, everything is so interesting! And, when I was told about this show, I couldn’t stop myself from binge watching all of the episodes!

What I loved most about the show was that it actually breaks down some of the things that happen in escape rooms to peoples brains and thought processes. So I thought a fun thing to do would be the break down each episode based on what happens to the participants in each game.

This is your brain in an escape room…

Episode 1: The Explorer’s Study

Episode 1 is set inside an explorer’s study with teams of 3 competing in identical rooms to escape and possibly win up to $25,000. While the teams are competing in the room, the host Jimmy Pardo breaks down what is happening in the room. Episode one explains a few different terms, and we’ve all seen these happen in rooms.

Hard-Easy Effect – misjudge the difficulty of a given task and over-complicate the final answer. As game hosts, we see this one happen most often. When you hear your team find a 4 number combination and someone in the group says “try it in the reverse order!” This is the hard-easy effect. 

Selective Perception – people reject or ignore new information if it contradicts prior findings. This is also a common occurrence, and while playing the game, you don’t even notice you’re doing it. When someone in your group says “well, what about this?” and no one seems to pay attention or listen, because it’s not what was originally thought.

Availability Heuristic – when someone judges an event based on how likely it is to occur. We see this a lot in our rooms, when something happens that seems like the craziest idea ever. Something about escape rooms, anything is possible, if you think of the craziest, most irrational thing, it is a possibility in escape rooms.

The last observation of the first episode, is the effect that cortisol has.

Cortisol – cortisol is the stress hormone in the brain which negatively affects self control, impulse control, memory, and reasoning, cortisol makes it hard to think rationally inside escape rooms. So, this explains all of the other things that happen in escape rooms, just blame cortisol!

So there you are, you’re brain in escape rooms! So next time you feel any of the above things coming on when you play an escape room, you can take comfort in knowing you’re not the only one!

Stay tuned for the breakdown of episode 2 coming up in a couple weeks! But in the meantime, check out the episodes on YouTube.

Melissa Eapen